Tō Mātou Whainga
Our Purpose

Tō Tātou Whainga

Ko tā te Tari Taiwhenua he whakarato me te hono i ngā iwi, ngā hapori me te kāwanatanga ki te hanga motu haumaru, tōnui, whai mana hoki.

Our Purpose

The Department of Internal Affairs serves and connects people, communities and government to build a safe, prosperous and respected nation.

Te Āhuatanga me te Hōkai o ngā Mahi
The nature and scope of our functions

Our purpose remains consistent, even as the functions and services we perform evolve and develop to meet the changing needs and expectations of people and the Government.

We aim to make New Zealand a better place to live and to enhance the lives of New Zealanders. We work with people, communities, and other parts of government – both central and local, to build a safe, prosperous and respected nation.

Our Ministerial Portfolios

We are responsible to nine Ministers, administering seven Portfolios within the single Vote Internal Affairs. The Minister of Internal Affairs is the Vote Minister and the Responsible Minister overseeing the Government’s ownership interests in the Department.

Portfolios and Responsible Ministers for 2019/20 were:

Internal Affairs Hon. Tracey Martin
Community and Voluntary Sector Hon. Poto Williams
Ethnic Communities Hon. Jenny Salesa
Government Digital Services Hon. Kris Faafoi
Local Government Hon. Nanaia Mahuta
Ministerial Services Hon. Chris Hipkins
Racing Rt. Hon. Winston Peters
Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Hon. Andrew Little
Community Trust Appointments Hon. Grant Robertson

The Department operates under a single Vote to support activities under the seven Portfolios.

We have a broad range of responsibilities and functions that span information and communication technologies (ICT) investment, information management, working with communities, ensuring effective regulatory frameworks are in place, supporting the Executive and local government and delivering a range of services to support and foster New Zealand’s cultural identity.

Our system leadership roles include the Government Chief Digital Officer (GCDO) and the Government Chief Privacy Officer (GCPO) to lead the digital transformation of government across the public sector. In this respect, we support our public sector colleagues to transform their services through better investment in ICT and to maintain the privacy of New Zealanders’ government-held information.

We also play a system leadership role with respect to local government. We are responsible for linking central and local government more effectively to achieve improved outcomes for citizens and communities.

The Department is responsible for the National Library of New Zealand and Archives New Zealand. These institutions play an important role in preserving New Zealand’s documentary heritage and ensuring a full and accurate public record is created and maintained.

The Chief Archivist has a system leadership role in administering the Public Records Act 2005, which establishes the regulatory framework for information and records management across the public sector to:

  • enable the government to be held accountable by ensuring that full and accurate records of central and local government are created and maintained
  • preserve and manage, and provide access to, records of long-term value, and
  • enhance public confidence in the integrity of public and local authority records.

We are also responsible for the Office of Ethnic Communities, which supports the many diverse ethnic communities that make New Zealand their home and the benefits that diversity brings to New Zealand society.

Our specific functions include:

  • Managing and protecting the integrity of national identity information, including life events such as births, deaths, marriages, citizenship and issuing passports
  • Regulating activities in several sectors including: gambling, censorship, countering violent extremism, government recordkeeping, charities, unsolicited electronic messages, anti-money laundering, private security personnel and private investigators
  • Providing policy advice to Government on local government, ethnic communities, community and voluntary sector, fire and emergency services, identity, information and communications technology, information management, digital safety, gambling and racing
  • Collecting, preserving and making accessible New Zealand’s documentary heritage and public records
  • Providing information, resources and advice to communities to support their aspirations
  • Administering grant funding schemes and promoting trust and confidence in the charitable sector
  • Supporting Ministers to ensure effective operation of Executive Government
  • Coordinating and managing official guest of Government visits to New Zealand and arranging national commemorative events
  • Supporting public and Government inquiries and reviews, including Royal Commissions of Inquiry
  • Administering a range of statutory functions for the Minister of Local Government, including for Lake Taupō and offshore islands
  • Leadership in the direction and operational approach for digital across the core public service.

We administer 112 pieces of legislation or regulation.

We monitor the performance of two Crown entities (Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the Office of Film and Literature Classification) and manage the appointment process for members of a range of trusts, committees and boards.

A picture of Beehive building

Ngā Whakaarotau Kāwanatanga
How we support Government’s priorities

Tā Mātou ki te Tautoko i Ngā Whakaarotau a te Kāwanatanga - How we support Government’s priorities

As part of the New Zealand public service, the Department contributes towards Government’s outcomes and objectives. We focus our efforts to support the Government to achieve its priorities.

The Government’s priorities fall under three broad themes and we support aspects of all three.

An economy that is growing and working for all of us

  • Support thriving, sustainable regions
  • Govern responsibly

Improving the wellbeing of New Zealanders and their families

  • Ensure that everyone who can is earning, learning, caring or volunteering
  • Support healthier, safer and more connected communities
  • Make New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child

Making New Zealand proud

  • Deliver open, transformative and compassionate Government
  • Build closer partnerships with Māori
  • Value who we are as a country
  • Create an international reputation we can be proud of
We are responsible for linking central and local government more effectively to achieve improved outcomes for citizens and communities.

Te Pou Tarāwaho Hua
Outcomes Framework

In our 2019–2023 Strategic Intentions, we described our newly developed Outcomes Framework.

We have four outcomes to achieve our common purpose. These outcomes support each other and overlap. Contributing to the achievement of the outcomes are 16 contributing intermediate outcomes that represent more specifically the impact of our major functions.

In 2020 we are considering a further outcome that outlines our commitment to Māori/Crown relationships.

We use indicators to demonstrate the impact of the work we do to benefit New Zealand and those who live here.

Anika with her laptop

Outcome 1

People can easily access the services and information they need.

Intermediate Outcomes

  • Barriers to digital inclusion are reduced
  • People’s access to government is enhanced
  • People’s identity can be easily and securely verified
  • Taonga tuku iho rights are protected
Office of Ethnic Communities event

Outcome 2

Iwi, hapū and communities across New Zealand are safe, resilient and thriving.

Intermediate Outcomes

  • Regulated activities minimise harm and maximise benefits to people and communities
  • Māori are supported to realise their aspirations
  • Communities are supported to develop and prosper
Moseworth National Library

Outcome 4

New Zealand is a well-functioning democracy across central and local government.

Intermediate Outcomes

  • Executive Government functions well through support, services and advice
  • Engagement between Māori and local government is strengthened
  • Government transparency is upheld
  • Local government works collectively to address national objectives